Competition - NRL Premiership
Round - Round 03
Teams - Newcastle Knights v Canberra Raiders
Date - 19th of March 2016
Venue - Hunter Stadium, Newcastle NSW
Photographer - Nathan Hopkins

Coach proud of team effort

While Saturday's round three result against the Canberra Raiders didn't register as a win, coach Nathan Brown was pleased.

"We're really proud of the guys effort obviously," Brown said.

"Their will and commitment to hang in there was great.

"To have all the fans stand up and clap at the end should be really fulfilling for the team."

Joint-captain Jeremy Smith agreed.

"I just thought we fought hard, and it showed towards the back end of the second half," Smith said.

"We knew that we had a lot of work to do 16 down, but we just hung in there and never gave up."

Brown also believes it gives his young side confidence.

"Until you get really good consistent effort and blokes that want to fight hard, you don't have a team," he added.

"To see that today gives us something to move forward with."

Starting prop Sam Mataora had a strong game against his former Club, scoring a try midway through the second half to get the Knights within six points.

"When I came in Sammy was 119kg, he's dropped his weight and today you saw a lot of benefit from that," Brown said.

"Patty Mata'utia lost 10kg, and these guys are starting to see the rewards for that hard work."

Five-eighth Jarrod Mullen impressed in his 200th game, playing a major role in three of the tries.

"It was by far Mullo's best performance, he just competed hard," Brown said.

"If he keeps doing that and people keep competing hard, it will give us a good chance."

While young winger Cory Denniss scored two tries in his debut match. 

"He did well, the young fella," Brown said.

"On that edge we had Jacob Saifiti who's 19, Sione Mata'utia who's 19, and young Cory's 18."

"Cory just needs to back his instincts. He's a good young player with a lot of talent and I think everyone's quite aware that in 12 months time he's going to be a lot bigger, a lot stronger and a lot better."

The Knights travel to Auckland to take on the Warriors in Round 4.